Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, May 22, 2017


Page 4


LACBA Names Buchalter’s Rick Cohen CEO Through Next Year






Rick Cohen, former president/chief executive at Buchalter, was named Friday as interim chief executive officer of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Cohen will take the helm today and serve through next year, a LACBA spokesperson said, as a search committee continues to look for a long-term replacement for Sally Suchil. Suchil held the post from 2009 until her resignation in January of this year.

LACBA’s president and president-elect both hailed the selection of Cohen, which they said was made by a consensus of officers, Executive Committee members, and top management. 

“We are excited to have Rick as our new Chief Executive Officer,” President Margaret P. Stevens said in a statement. “He is an accomplished lawyer with a strong record of leadership in challenging situations.”

Stevens said the group was looking forward “to having him help LACBA to refocus its energies on its mission of serving its members and the legal profession.”

She added:

“Having had a chance to meet and interview Rick, the executive staff and LACBA Officers all agree that he is a great choice for LACBA’s CEO,” Stevens added.

President-Elect Michael E. Meyer, who is slated to replace Stevens July 1, said of Cohen:

“I think he’s going to be terrific. I’d be surprised if anyone [involved with the selection] wasn’t enthusiastic.”

Previous selections of the LACBA CEO have featured a selection by the search committee followed by a vote of the entire Board of Trustees. That model is expected to be retained for the selection of Cohen’s successor, the group’s spokesperson said. 

Cohen said in a release:

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve LACBA and for the trust that LACBA leadership has shown in me by asking me to serve as CEO. I look forward to contributing to the proud and formidable achievements of a venerable institution like LACBA.”

Cohen earned his undergraduate degree in 1974 from Pomona College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his law degree in 1977 from UCLA and was admitted to the State Bar the following year.

As a young lawyer, he served as special counsel to Kenneth Cory, a three-term state controller in the 1970s and 1980s, whose duties included service on the board of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. Cohen served as interim CEO of the system, known as CalSTRS, in 1984, when it was the largest public pension fund in the United States.

At Buchalter, he focused his practice on a wide range of corporate, partnership, and general securities matters. Before being named head of the firm, he chaired the Investment Management Practice Group.

Before stepping down as CEO in 2012, Cohen presided over an expansion of the firm, including the lateral hiring of a number of partners departing other firms, and a significant increase in the size of the real estate practice.

In recent years, he also served as general counsel and chief operating officer of PonoMusic, a company started by a longtime client, musician Neil Young, to market high-resolution audio recordings and a device to play them. It was reported last month that the company, which was launched three years ago with a Kickstarter campaign that raised $6.2 million, was out of business after a failed effort to replace the original business model with a music streaming service.


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